Thursday 19 September 2019

'I have my own reasons for not wanting one in December' - Sen Jerry Buttimer relieved as wedding day election clash is avoided

Fine Gael senator will tie the knot over the festive season

Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer. Photo: Tony Gavin
Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer. Photo: Tony Gavin

Ralph Riegel

One high profile Fine Gael politician had a very special reason for heaving a sigh of relief that Ireland isn't facing into a snap Christmas general election.

Senator Jerry Buttimer (50) is due to marry his long-time partner Conchobar Ó Laoghaire in Cork on December 29.

The Cork senator, who narrowly lost his Dáil berth in Cork South Central in the 2016 General Election, was Fine Gael's only openly gay TD before Taoiseach Leo Varadkar came out in advance of the marriage equality referendum two years ago.

Sen Buttimer was one of the leading lights in that historic referendum campaign and described the 'Yes' vote as one of the highlights of his
political career.

He announced his engagement last July - and was formally congratulated on his impending wedding in the Seanad.

Famed for his constituency work, he has been undertaking constituency clinics, handing out information leaflets and attending various public
events around Cork as Ireland was poised for the countdown to a shock festive election.

Privately, he admitted he was relieved any election won't take place until into the New Year with his wedding due to take place in just
over four weeks.

"Look, there's no election campaign on at the moment - but that doesn't mean that everyone isn't preparing for one," he said.

"I certainly didn't want a general election before Christmas - I have my own reasons for not wanting one in December."

"Every single householder in Cork that I have spoken to over the past few days also didn't want a Christmas election - no one did."

"But I'm not afraid to fight an election campaign if I have to - and that is true for the entire Government and the Fine Gael party."

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